13 Million US Households Not Ready for Digital Transition

February 15, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

African-American | Broadcast & Cable | Hispanic | Media & Entertainment | Technology | Television

More than 13 million households with television sets that can receive only analog broadcasts are still unprepared for the transition to all-digital broadcasting, scheduled for February 18, 2009, the Nielsen Company reported.

Another 6 million households have at least one television set that would no longer work after that date, Nielsen said.

The government-mandated transition will leave analog (over-the-air) broadcast TV viewers without a television signal unless they purchase digital sets, subscribe to cable or satellite, or purchase a converter box.

Adults over 55 are better prepared than younger households, and Whites and Asians are more ready than Blacks; also, more Hispanic households still rely on analog broadcast television than non-Hispanics, Nielsen said.

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Among other key findings reported:

  • 10.1% of all households would have no access to television signals if the transition were to occur today.
  • 16.8% of all households have at least one analog television set that would not work after the switch.
  • New York is the most ready local television market, with just 3.5% “unready” television sets. (See table, below.)
  • Portland, OR is the least-prepared local market, with 22.4% of households using only analog sets and over-the-air television.

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About the data: These estimates are based on the national and local television ratings samples that are used to generate Nielsen television ratings. Those samples are representative of the total US population and individual local markets.

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